Monday, July 18, 2011

Hot hot hot!

I am so thankful these days we have a pool to cool off in...
Aiden has learned to swim this summer and its been a big relief to know he can keep himself above water. And Aiden has turned into quite the fish too. He loves to jump off the side (or the diving board), dive down and touch the bottom, and stay under as long as he possibly can.

Makayla has gotten really good at using her floaties. It's quite impressive how she can kick her legs and get to just about anywhere she wants to go. I will be more relaxed though when this girl actually learns how to have to watch her like a hawk.

check out my muscle woman:

And a picture of myself i actually I had to include it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Jamaica Missions Trip

Is it really the first day of July? Yikes! What happened to June? Oh yes I know what happened....swimming as much as possible because Aiden is a little fish now, a missions trip to Jamaica with our church youthgroup, helping my parents pack up their house, my birthday, and helping my parents move...Yes I believe that would pretty much sum up the month of June. It was a busy one...but I digress.....

On June 11th Kreg and I flew out early early with lots of energetic teens and some other great youth leaders to Montego Bay, Jamaica. We had a great trip. The goal was to spread the gospel with all who would listen and praise the Lord because....many listened! We stayed right next to the Montego Bay airport but thankfully flights did not arrive or depart during the late night hours. This was the view from my bedroom window:

We were also directly across from what the locals call "the hip strip" meaning the Sea Wall. It's a great place to walk and witness and that's exactly what we did. We split up into groups and had some awesome conversations with many Jamaicans. The Jamaican people as a whole are very friendly. They love talking with you and don't mind spiritual topics at all so it makes it easy to steer the conversation to Jesus. I was so proud of our teens. Many of them shared their faith for the first time on this trip and all of them shared atleast once, if not mulitple times. In the evenings is when the hip strip was really happeneing. From about 8pm to 1 or 2 in the morning the wall is covered with people and they come blaring their Bob Marley, etc music. I was fair warned that I might not get much sleep but I thanks to the many who were praying for us and my exhausted state by the time my head hit the pillow I slept quite well. Here is a pic of the hip strip:

Our other mission was in the public schools. Surprisingly the public schools in Jamaica actually start with a daily devotional time. So we went into the schools and did their devotion time for them. The kids had an awesome skit that displayed some of the miracles Jesus did as well as his crucifixion. We sang songs with them, hung out with them, and had one of the teens share their testimony/share the gospel. So you may wonder if they have a daily devotional time then whats the need? Don't they already know about Jesus? Yes many of the kids in the public schools have learned John 3:16 as well as other popular verses but from what I could gather its more ritualistic. And because they are learning Scripture in school they have a head knowledge of Jesus but not a personal relationship with Jesus. Our goal was to make them see they have a need for a Savior...we all do...because we have all sinned. Here are a few pics from the schools:

We also went to an orphanage and did some work projects (I don't think I have ever sweated that much in my life). That is my one complaint about Jamaica. It was waaaayyyyyyy hot. You were a sticky, smelly mess from about 8:30am to 11pm when it was lights out. The kids were way sweet at the orphange as well, but sadly that's the one day we forgot to take our camera so no pics of those sweet ones. The hardest day for me was when we went to Westhaven Children's Home, it was a "camp" like place way up in the mountains where severaly to moderately disabled children/young adults spend their days/years either because they are not wanted or because they are too much for their parents to handle. It was challenging because many of them were all over you...wanting to hold your hand and take you all around the camp so there was no "personal space" for those that like that. I am one of them but I was so proud of the teens, especially the guys on our team. I heard zero complaining even though we were totally out of our comfort zones. The hardest part for me was feeding a 15 year old girl a bottle. I don't know what it was...I think it mostly just saddened me...but I was definitely holding back the tears at that point. Because we serve a loving and just God I think some day I will get to see this little girl in Heaven and I can't wait to meet her again in that setting and see her running around and feeding herself!

Of course we also had some fun time while in the Caribbean! We enjoyed the beautiful beaches and ocean as much as we could. One afternoon we went snorkeling and on our last day we went to Dunnes River Falls. It's a huge waterfall that you are actually allowed to climb up. If it were in the States I'm not sure it would be legal in Jamaica....No Problem Man!

It was a great trip and Kreg and I have both said we would definitely go on another mission trip to Jamaica. Next time though I think I'd like to go in Janaury...not June! My most apprehensive moments came just before leaving whenever I thought about being so far away from my kids but God blessed and sustained. And Aiden and Makayla did great with both Kreg's parents and my parents. After 8 days Aiden didn't even want us to come home! I guess its a blessing to have such well adjusted children.